Estrada calls for all-out war vs MILF, Abus


Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 07:57:00 08/20/2008

DIGOS CITY—Former President Joseph Estrada Tuesday called for all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Abu Sayyaf in Mindanao.

Speaking on Bombo Radyo in a Mindanao-wide simultaneous broadcast, Estrada said that peace would never come to Mindanao if these groups continued to exist.

“I pity the people of Mindanao. Mindanao will not become progressive if the MILF and the Abu Sayyaf are still there,” Estrada said.

Estrada, who declared war against the MILF in 2000, said it was obvious the peace process had not done any good.

He said peace talks had not stopped MILF rebels from launching attacks, referring to recent raids in North Cotabato and Lanao del Norte that left dozens of people dead and more than 100,000 displaced.

Estrada said he was puzzled why the government continued to negotiate with the MILF when the rebel group had proven untrustworthy.

“Why should the government talk to people, who do not (respect) what they have agreed on for several times since the start of the rebellion more than 30 years ago?” he asked.

Crush MILF at all cost

“Enough of the talking, the people in Mindanao are still living in poverty and fear,” Estrada said.

Estrada said President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo must do “all her best to protect our territory at all cost.”

“We have to crush them at all cost. The Armed Forces of the Philippines has the capabilities to do that,” he said.

Estrada also criticized the controversial memorandum of agreement (MOA) on ancestral domain, saying the people were never consulted.

“We should not give any part of the country to the MILF, which killed a lot of people, beheaded our Marines, and killed innocent civilians,” Estrada said.

“We have only one flag, one armed forces, and one nation,” Estrada said. “It’s treason if you give a part of the country to the MILF.”

MNLF blasts MILF

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chair Nur Misuari joined Estrada’s tirade against the controversial agreement.

“(The) MOA is infringing, not only on the Philippine Constitution, but (also) on the GRP-MNLF final peace agreement,” Misuari said, referring to the accord signed in 1996.

Misuari also said that until now he could not understand why the government negotiated with the MILF when it had already struck a deal with the MNLF, describing his group as “the official representative of the Bangsamoro people in the powerful Organization of Islamic Conference.” Reports from Eldie Aguirre, Edwin Fernandez and Jeoffrey Maitem, Inquirer Mindanao

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My Take:

Erap is courting US’ support anew.

His call is an SOS addressed to Uncle Sam to support his bid to reclaim power thru the upcoming 2010 elections.

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